May 26, 2024

Image for article titled ‘Bitcoin Jesus’ got charged in a $50 million fraud for allegedly hiding how much Bitcoin he owns

Photo: Dado Ruvic (Reuters)

Early crypto investor Roger Ver, a.k.a. ‘Bitcoin Jesus,’ has been charged with a tax fraud, with the Department of Justice saying he evaded nearly $50 million in taxes. 

In an indictment filed in federal court in Los Angeles, 45-year-old Ver is charged with mail fraud and tax evasion. The DOJ stated that the indictment was unsealed after his arrest in Spain over the weekend, and the U.S. authorities are seeking his extradition.

Ver earned the nickname “Bitcoin Jesus” due to his early investments in cryptocurrency and his tendency to preach about it. Born in California, Ver renounced his US citizenship in February 2014 to become a citizen of St. Kitts and Nevis, a dual-island nation located between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.

According to the indictment, Ver failed to report the 131,000 Bitcoins he owned in 2014 when he renounced his citizenship. Using this method, Ver is alleged to have avoided taxes, underrepresented his Bitcoin holdings, and evaded taxes. At the moment, Bitcoin is trading at around $57,000, which means Ver’s 131,000 Bitcoins are worth about $7.5 billion.

Ver’s indictment comes a day after cryptocurrency exchange Binance founder Changpeng Zhao who pleaded guilty last year to money laundering, received a four-month jail sentence. Previously, Sam Bankman-Fried, former CEO of the FTX crypto exchange, was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

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